Lynn Austin is the bestselling author of nearly thirty novels and was one of the first inductees into the Christy Award Hall of Fame. Her novel Hidden Places was made into a Hallmark Channel movie starring actress Shirley Jones. She and her husband have three grown children and make their home in western Michigan.

In this interview, Lynn discusses her latest novel, All My Secrets.

FF: What inspired this story set in the Gilded Age?
I was initially drawn to the Gilded Age because of the excesses of the era—the enormous, overly decorated mansions, the lavish lifestyles of the rich, the rags-to-riches stories of the Gilded Age tycoons. I wanted to explore what might happen if these fortunes were lost, or if my characters began to acknowledge the emptiness of a life lived only for pleasure. People today often envy the rich and famous, so I wanted to take a peek behind the scenes of a time period that is similar to ours in many ways, and explore some of the values that shaped it.

FF: How did you go about researching that era?
I began by researching the lives of famous Gilded Age tycoons, such as Cornelius Vanderbilt and Jacob Astor. Many of these self-made millionaires started out poor and created their empires through cutthroat business practices. The legacies their families inherited weren’t always enviable. But I learned that while men clearly dominated this era, more and more women were longing to make their voices heard. So my research then led me to the suffrage movement, and the developing social conscience of its followers. The Gilded Age was also an era of mass migration to America, so the plight of immigrants and the huge disparity between rich and poor became another avenue of my research.

FF: How does faith play a role in this story?
Faith plays a role in several ways. Some of the characters discover that their past mistakes can be forgiven through faith in Christ. This renewed faith provides them with a fresh start, even if they still must face the consequences of their mistakes. Other characters grow in faith throughout the story because of what they experience and learn to make better decisions by trusting God’s plan for their lives. And faith causes some of the characters to question the misplaced values that have shaped their lives.

FF: What do you hope readers will learn from Addy’s journey?
In All My Secrets, Addy is being given conflicting advice. Her grandmother’s wisdom, her mother’s financial needs, society’s pressures, and her own growing social conscience are all pulling her in different directions. These influences are easy to see in a novel, but aren’t so obvious in our everyday lives. I hope readers can gain insight into what might be influencing their own decisions and learn to discern God’s plan for their lives as they read Addy’s story.

FF: What do you find interesting about multigenerational relationships such as the ones in this story?
It intrigues me that the challenges the generations before us faced and the choices they made have influenced our lives whether we realize it or not. Each generation thinks the conflicts they face are unique, when in reality, “What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 1:9). We can learn from our families’ stories and gain valuable insight into our own lives when we take the time to explore our family’s past and build multigenerational relationships.

FF: What do you find to be the most challenging part of the writing process? What advice would you offer young writers?
Researching within a vast sea of information (without pursuing endless rabbit trails) is challenging, but I enjoy that process. Creating complex characters and a fresh plot that hasn’t been overused is also challenging, especially after writing nearly 30 books. After all these years, I’ve learned about the daily discipline that’s required in order to write a book—and write it well—and still meet the publisher’s deadline, but it’s still one of my biggest challenges. I would advise young writers to learn to set priorities in their life and writing, and allocate their time accordingly, aware of the endless distractions that will try to divert them from God’s call to write.

FF: Which books and authors have shaped you most as a writer?
The Jewish author Chaim Potok first influenced me to write novels that incorporate faith in God into the story in a natural way. In novels such as The Chosen, Potok takes readers into the life of Orthodox Jews—not to convert us to his faith, but to show it in action in everyday life. He inspired me to try to do the same with a Christian worldview. I was also influenced by authors Maeve Binchy and Rosamunde Pilcher, whose rich characters and complex storylines are still memorable years after I’ve read them.

FF: Do you have any other writing projects in the pipeline?
I’ve just finished writing a Christmas novella which continues the stories of the characters from All My Secrets. It will be released in late fall 2024, in time for the Christmas season.

FF: How do you hope this story will resonate with your readers?
I always hope that readers will be able to draw parallels between my stories and their own lives and perhaps think about their own choices in a fresh way. I see many similarities between All My Secrets and our current era—in the fascination with the rich and famous, in the obsession with money, and in the divisions between rich and poor, to name just a few. I hope my characters’ lives and dilemmas will resonate as true for every era, and as the novel’s characters begin to ask what God’s plan for their lives might be, that readers will be inspired to do the same.

All My Secrets
Lynn Austin
Tyndale House
Genres: Historical Romance, Historical
Release Date: February 6, 2024

ISBN-10: ‎1496437454
ISBN-13: ‎978-1496437457

Book Summary:
New York, 1898. The only thing more shocking than Arthur Stanhope III’s unexpected death is the revelation that his will bestows his company—and most of the vast fortune that goes with it—to the nearest male heir, leaving his mother, wife, and daughter nearly impoverished. His widow, Sylvia, quickly realizes she must set aside her grief to ensure their daughter, Adelaide, is launched into society as soon as the appropriate mourning period passes. If Sylvia can find a wealthy husband for Addy before anyone realizes they’re practically destitute, there will be little disruption to the lifestyle they’re accustomed to.

Sylvia’s mother-in-law, Junietta, believes their life could use a little disruption. She has watched Sylvia play her role as a society wife, as Junietta once did, despite what it cost them both. Junietta vows to give her granddaughter the power to choose a path beyond what society expects.

But for Addy to have that chance, both mother and grandmother must first confront painful truths about their own choices. Only in bringing their secrets to light can they hope to reshape their family inheritance into a legacy more fulfilling than they ever dared dream.


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About The Author

Lynn Austin has sold more than one and a half million copies of her books worldwide. She has won multiple Christy Awards for her historical fiction, and was inducted into the Christy Award Hall of Fame. Her novel Hidden Places was made into a Hallmark Channel movie. Lynn and her husband have raised three children and make their home in western Michigan.